Palmer places 13th in Spanish F1 Grand Prix first practise

Palmer got his first taste of the E23 Hybrid in an official pre-season test in Spain in February
Palmer got his first taste of the E23 Hybrid in an official pre-season test in Spain in February

Jolyon Palmer produced another impressive performance this morning (Friday) to finish the opening session of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend in 13th position.

Taking over the E23 Hybrid from Romain Grosjean, the Lotus F1 Team Third and reserve driver completed 21 laps and finished with a best time of 1min 29.676sec.

The 24-year-old, from Southwater, took to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and consistently improved his lap-times, posting a fastest time of 1-30.207 to go ninth quickest at that stage, only 0.097 shy of his team-mate and former Grand Prix winner at the track, Pastor Maldonado.

With 60 minutes remaining in the session, Palmer sat in 12th position, just one place behind Maldonado in 11th.

After a lengthy spell in the pits, the 2014 GP2 champion returned to the action with 15 minutes remaining and clocked a 1-29.676 lap-time to move into 12th position, 0.434s faster than Venezuelan Maldonado and ahead of the much improved McLaren’s of ex-world champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

Multiple Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo then pushed Palmer down to 13th, a position the Brit would hold until the end of the session.

Palmer said: “It was probably my best Free Practice so far from a driving perspective. It was helpful knowing the track well and I could push early on but there wasn’t a lot of grip with it being the first session of the weekend.

“It was quite windy as well but I got down to a good pace.”

Alan Permane, trackside operations director for Lotus F1 Team added: “The weather conditions were very favourable and we steadily worked through our usual Friday morning programme bar some extra system checks.

“We were able to complete our first session aero programme and Jolyon provided us with some valuable and constructive feedback throughout the session.”

The Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets, the German edging out his British team-mate by 0.07, with the Ferrari cars of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen nearly one-second adrift in third and fourth respectively.